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Journal Article

Crystal twinning of bicontinuous cubic structures


Jin,  Chenyu
Group Active soft matter, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Han, L., Fujita, N., Chen, H., Jin, C., Terasako, O., & Che, S. (2020). Crystal twinning of bicontinuous cubic structures. IUCrJ, 7(2), 228-237. doi:10.1107/S2052252519017287.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-9AE6-A
Bicontinuous cubic structures in soft matter consist of two intertwining labyrinths separated by a partitioning layer. Combining experiments, numerical modelling and techniques in differential geometry, we investigate twinning defects in bicontinuous cubic structures. We first demonstrate that a twin boundary is most likely to occur at a plane that cuts the partitioning layer almost perpendicularly, so that the perturbation caused by twinning remains minimal. This principle can be used as a criterion to identify potential twin boundaries, as demonstrated through detailed investigations of mesoporous silica crystals characterized by diamond and gyroid surfaces. We then discuss that a twin boundary can result from a stacking fault in the arrangement of inter-lamellar attachments at an early stage of structure formation. It is further shown that enhanced curvature fluctuations near the twin boundary would cost energy because of geometrical frustration, which would be eased by a crystal distortion that is experimentally observed.